The Spring, 2002 issue of Communio presents a series of articles that display, from various angles, the inseparable unity of concreteness and universality that distinguishes the truth of revelation as it is received, lived, celebrated, and "theologized" in the Church.
The issue opens with Adrian Walker's editorial response ("Fundamentalism and the Catholicity of Truth") to questions raised by readers concerned by what they perceived to be a lack of balance in some of the articles on "Fundamentalism and the Word of God" in the Fall, 2001 number of the journal. Walker critiques American Protestant Fundamentalism as a type of Christian engagement with modernity, not for defending Christian orthodoxy, but for tying this defense to an all-too modern sense of rationality that finally prevents Fundamentalism from drawing from the catholicity of truth the principles needed to critique modernity radically while redemptively retrieving its legitimate aspirations.
Communio inaugurates with the present issue a new, five-year-long series on the Mysteries of the Life of Jesus. The three articles gathered here survey the general theological significance of this venerable topos, which reveals the concrete history of Jesus Christ, eternalized in the Holy Spirit, as the locus of a truly universal logos.
In "The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus as a Prism of Faith," Christian Schütz shows that this eternalization gives the mysteries, as the presence of the Mystery "hidden for ages in God who created all things" (Eph 3:9), a (liturgically mediated) contemporaneity with all times. The mysteries are thus the locus of an integration of historical singularity and universal truth that has "revolutionary power" for theology.
Arno Schilson's "Liturgy as the Presence of the Mysteries According to Odo Casel" recalls Casel's pioneering work in rediscovering the role of the liturgical celebration as a whole in mediating the eternal contemporaneity of the mysteries of the life of Jesus as they are recapitulated in the Paschal Mystery.
Finally, Martin Bieler's "The Mysteries of Jesus' Public Life: Stages on the Way to the Cross" highlights this Paschal dimension by showing the events of Jesus' public life--from Baptism to the Transfiguration--as "the beginning of Christ's exaltation as Lord on the way to the cross," the cross that is eternalized in the resurrection. The mysteries of the life of Jesus are thus transparent, Bieler concludes, to the mystery of substitution, "which is, ultimately, the inclusion of man in the intra-Trinitarian life."
The second theme of the present issue, The Catholicity of Truth, approaches from a complementary angle the unity of uniqueness and universality displayed in the first.
In her "Martyrdom and Truth: From Ignatius of Antioch to the Monks of Tibhirine," Ysabel de Andia argues that martyrdom is a privileged participation in the Truth par excellence--Jesus' revelation of the Father in the Holy Spirit--while also highlighting the "catholic" fruitfulness of this participation as a return to the unique center of a truly universal communion.
Kurt Pritzl's "Truth in Fides et Ratio: Aristotelian Reflections and Recommendations" explores the philosophical basis of the inclusionary power of the truth that comes to light in de Andia's account of the fruitfulness of martyrdom. Noting the richness of Fides et Ratio's "display" of truth, Pritzl offers an Aristotelian argument that "cognitive, non-discursive, pre-articulate union with the real" "makes possible and guides . . . genuine articulation . . . whether the articulation succeeds in whole or part."
Contact with the real, the inexhaustible background of propositional truth, thus enables Christians (the immediate audience is future priests, but the point applies to all believers) to "work usefully with the partial, obscure, conditioned, or limited truth which they will encounter . . . to advance toward fuller or more comprehensive truth."
Roger Duncan demonstrates the fruitfulness of this method in "Emmanuel Levinas in the Light of Fides et Ratio," which suggests the mutual enrichment that could come from respectful dialogue between Levinas' work and the Catholic philosophical tradition of the "analogia entis." Such dialogue, in which the analogy of being provides a framework for "integrating [Levinas'] message," (especially on the matter of difference) "into a larger tissue of understanding," even as Levinas "contributes insights, refinements, namings of great value" that make this framework larger and more supple, can fructify in "a way to speak" philosophically "of being from the height of the Trinitarian perichoresis as that is reflected in all of creation via the analogia entis."
The Liturgy, which plays an important role in the first two themes, becomes a theme in its own right in the next two articles. In "Antiphonality: Notes Towards a Theology of Liturgical Form," Ian Coleman, having surveyed the history and function of the antiphon in the Roman and Byzantine liturgies, argues that liturgical form is essentially antiphonal. Liturgical "antiphonality consists in creating dialogue out of apparent monologue, with the aim of a unity of heart and mouth in those who embrace it," thus revealing the Liturgy to be the locus of a richer kind of truth than is available to a monological Enlightenment rationalism--a rationalism that, Coleman argues, is not without its effect on many contemporary approaches to liturgical celebration.
Michael K. Magee's "The Liturgical Translation of the Response 'Et cum spiritu tuo'" illustrates the antiphonal structure of the Liturgy by showing, on the basis of a rigorous and detailed analysis, that the current English translation of the greeting "And also with you" "is incapable of conveying the depth or variety of meanings of the original text"--meanings that Magee shows to have far-reaching anthropological and theological implications.
The question of the concrete universality of the truth is also the question of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Word of revelation in person. The present issue of Communio thus fittingly includes the promised responses to Roch Kereszty's "The Word of God: A Catholic Perspective in Dialogue with Judaism and Islam," which appeared in the Fall, 2001 issue of the journal, together with Kereszty's reply to these responses.
In "Pluralism and Interreligious Dialogue. Reply to Roch Kereszty," David Novak, while eschewing ontological and epistemological pluralism, argues for a "political pluralism" that requires mutual respect for conscience between Jews and Christians. Such respect, Novak argues, itself requires Christian acknowledgment that "Jews are still part of the covenant with God," an acknowledgment that paves the way for serious discussion of similarities and differences between Jews and Christians, especially on the question about whether there is "multiplicity in the Godhead" itself.
Mahmoud M. Ayoub's "The Word of God in Islam: Some Personal Reflections," though calling attention to the "great divide between the Christian and Islamic traditions"--while "Islam views the Word of God to be a book, Christianity holds the Divine Word to be a man, perfect in his humanity and his divinity"--also notes the Qur'anic confidence that God's Word "speaks to every people or community," especially Jews and Christians. Ayoub thus concludes with a call to a "dialogue of faith" in which "the Word of God can also become a call to peace and sanctification of our profane and turbulent world."
In his summary reflection, "Brothers in a Strange Land: A Response to the Responses,"
Roch Kereszty boldly sets forth the often unnoticed convergence that already links Christians, Jews, and Muslims (especially Christians and Jews) in their adherence to the Word of God, even while noting the differences that divide them. Speaking of the "exile" (the phrase is David Novak's) in which adherents of the divine Word find themselves today, Kereszty affirms that this exile "seems to be a providential call to awaken all three Abrahamic faiths, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, to a common vocation: we who have been made aware of God's infinite mercy and holiness are charged with a mission to all humankind."
Spirit and History appropriately concludes the Spring issue with a description and assessment of Patristic exegesis of the Bible. Brian E. Daley's "Is Patristic Exegesis Still Usable? Reflections on Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms," noting that "modern historical criticism . . . is methodologically atheistic," paints a rich portrait of the alternative Patristic conviction that "it is God who speaks through the Biblical author and text, and that our own engagement with the text is nothing less than a personal encounter with the Divine Mystery." Daley illustrates his account of Patristic exegesis, which in many respects brings us back to the opening consideration of the mysteries of the life of Jesus, with a survey of Patristic exegesis of the Psalms: "the speaker of these Scriptural prayers," Daley writes apropos of Augustine, "is at once the ‘original' author . . . the private user . . . the Church as a unified liturgical subject, and Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh."
Finally, Communio is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Associate Editors, Nicholas J. Healy III, David Christopher Schindler, and Adrian J. Walker, who will collaborate with the Editor-in-Chief, David L. Schindler, in carrying out the work of the journal. We also welcome Emily Rielley as our new managing editor, and we extend our congratulations to Colet Coughlin, who leaves the managing editor's position she has capably filled to enter the married life this Summer and to resume her graduate studies in the Fall.
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